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Devon prepares for train strikes

Thursday, June 16th, 2022 8:50am

By Ollie Heptinstall, local democracy reporter

A GWR at Teignmouth (courtesy Network Rail)

Only limited mainline services will run

Limited mainline trains to and from Devon and London are still scheduled to operate next week, despite strike action over three days.

Passengers have been advised not to travel on the railway unless necessary during strikes on Tuesday 21, Thursday 23 and Saturday 25 June, when thousands of staff are set to walk out across Britain over pay and terms and conditions.

Disruption is also expected to run into non-strike days because not enough staff will be working overnight to get trains ready for the following day.

Great Western Railway, owned by First Group, says on strike days only a “very limited” mainline service between Plymouth and London, via normal stops such as Newton Abbot and Exeter, will be running. These are expected to operate from 0700 until 1830.

All other GWR services, including the Avocet line to Exmouth and the Tarka line to Barnstaple, will not run on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.

On non-strike days its services are expected to resume, but with only one train per hour from 0700 and a more frequent service between Crediton and Exeter Central.

GWR’s sister company South Western Railway, also owned by First Group, is only running its London Waterloo services as far as Basingstoke on strike days, meaning none of its trains will serve Devon.

It says “significant disruption” is also expected on Wednesday 22, Friday 24 and Sunday 26 June, when a Sunday service will operate throughout the day from 0730.

Meanwhile, CrossCountry, which runs trains to the north of England and Scotland, says it’s “finalising details of what level of service we will be able to offer over this period and will publish details on our website in due course.”

Network Rail route director Mark Killick said: “We’re so sorry for the disruption next week and we know how difficult this will be for our customers so soon after the pandemic.

“We’ve trained 250 staff so we can keep some of the busiest lines open, focussing our resources on the routes that can keep the largest numbers of customers and freight moving and serving vital locations such as hospitals.

“That said, we will not compromise on safety and the strike does mean that large parts of the network will be closed.”

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